The deepest point on continental Earth has been identified in East Antarctica, under Denman Glacier.
This ice-filled canyon reaches 3.5km (11,500ft) below sea level. Only in the ocean are the valleys deeper still.
The discovery is illustrated in a new map of the White Continent that reveals the shape of the bedrock under the ice sheet in unprecedented detail.
Its features will be critical to our understanding of how the polar south might change in the future.
For comparison, the lowest exposed land on Earth, at the Dead Sea shore, is just 413m (1,355ft) below sea level.
The new finding shows, for example, previously unrecognised ridges that will impede the retreat of melting glaciers in a warming world; and, alternatively, a number of smooth, sloping terrains that could accelerate withdrawals.
“This is undoubtedly the most accurate portrait yet of what lies beneath Antarctica’s ice sheet,” said Dr Mathieu Morlighem, who’s worked on the project for six years.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: BBC News